As you know, I’m off to Vietnam. Well, you know it if you’ve been reading this journal at all. When I return, there will be pictures and commentary. Slowly, mind you, because I’ve been doing some thinking.
In 2002, I began my Live Journal. I did so full of trepidation. Would the Internet become too much of a time sink for me? Would it become my replacement for writing? Well, no, as it turns out. It really takes me not too much time to whip out an entry for the things I want to talk about, and generally, I don’t seem to have a problem finding things to talk about. I didn’t get sucked into Facebook, and I avoided Twitter until all my Viable Paradise class showed up there. Then Twitter was unavoidable. I also look in at Codex, look at yahoo news, check a writer email account, and look at Dreamwidth. That’s my Internet day. On an intricate article day, it can be about 3 hours, but it’s usually an hour and half. Similarly, if I have a day at work when I can’t check the Internet, catching up can take all my morning.
Things…must change. A lot of my Internet interaction has become ritualized, but what I am doing is old-fashioned. I need to take some time to get away from Live Journal, for example. It’s a dying platform that is not at all attractive or useful. I go there because there are still old friends I read, and new people, but in the end, how many people’s journals do I read who know me, or who I really know? That’s some wasted time for me and them.
I don’t need to be going to Codex as often as I do. The crowd at Codex is a swell crowd, but I don’t need to be checking in every day. I don’t publish short stories, and the novelists there are few. Why? I suspect they might be writing novels? (Actually, I notice that with notable exceptions, people writing novels are rarely goofing around on the computer. Entries usually are a couple of times a week in their blogs if that. They are not frequent fliers on the message boards I frequent.)
So…here’s what I’m thinking.
1.I’ll get off Live Journal. I know there are ways to subscribe to the journals of friends I want to without being in the Live Journal community. My friend Chris mentioned something called Feedly, and I’m sure I can ask Mark about alternatives.
2. I’m only going to read a few journals. Certainly, people I actually know, and people I kind of know who are talking about things that interest me, and what I need to be researching for the writing.
3. I will NOT be coming on line during a given day unless I have reached my writing goals for the day, and reached my workout and food goals for the day. There. There’s some prioritizing for you. My knee hurts. My story is in second place of my computer stuff. Really. No, really. Since I have a full time job and an excellent relationship, these are the things that I must/want to prioritize. Numbers 3 and 4 gotta be fitness and writing (note the order. Writing does not get to keep happening if you don’t take care of yourself.)
4. With the exception of Twitter. WHEN I’m writing. I have found that I like being on Twitter when I write. I pull quotes from my work, and make complaints and ask questions about the characters, and it adds to the experience. Plus I think it’s an interesting way to have an “online presence” and a “platform.” Bleah.
5. I’m also not giving up my weekly chat with a good friend who lives out east, or our writer’s conferences on Thursday. These both help with the writing.
6. Overall, I’m not giving up much, except for TIME devoted to the INTERNET endeavor. I need to get away from every day time on line. If I spent this time working on my story every day, I suspect my writing would be deeper. If I spent this time working out every day, I suspect my knee would be happier. I should be able to write an entry at least once a week. Similarly, I should be able to check into Codex periodically, and read my friend’s journals periodically.
You know, someone once said that the artist’s enemy is obscurity. I believe now that the artist’s enemy is procrastination. I am writing, but I’m not getting the result I want yet. Which, by the way, is not to get published. It’s to produce a damned good readable body of work, which incidentally may or may not get published. Also, I’m tired of having the health problems which result from me being overweight. I am not a healthy fat person. If I were, those priorities would be different.
And you know, I need to reshuffle my life so those two things, which are more important than the time I spend on the Internet, are front and center. I can’t do anything about the job that I haven’t already done. I want the marriage to stay as good as it is. So, always, that’s the core of my life. But I want to reshuffle what I’m doing with my free time.
Also up for a change this year? I suppose, once I get this Internet routine adjusted to, I should start updating my tech. First my laptop (I suspect I’d best have a new one ready to go by next summer, as we’re on the second hard drive now), and then my phone. But you know, thinking long term.
So, goodbye for now. With the exception of typing out notes to the husband on the Nook to say I’m alive, no one will hear from me again until June 29th. Try not to miss me or my amusing anecdotes. I am sure my absence will be covered pleasantly by pictures of cats in overalls or something.
And then, when I get back, less of me. BUT maybe more of my material to read.
Have a safe and happy June. I will be working hard and I’ll try not to come back with malaria.